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Dante Fowler Jr. inks max deal four days after ACL tear

Dante Fowler Jr. was dealt a cruel blow in his first practice as a pro. Four days later, the Jaguars are showing their faith in the No. 3 overall pick.

The Jacksonville Jaguars announced Tuesday that Fowler has signed his rookie contract. NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reports that Fowler agreed to a four-year, $23.5 million deal. The contract is fully guaranteed and contains no offset language.

Fowler's rookie season came to a sudden end Friday when he tore his ACL on the first day of rookie minicamp. The Jaguars still gave the defensive end the maximum contract under the NFL's rookie slotting system.

"We are excited to get Dante under contract," Jaguars general manager David Caldwell said, according to the team site. "Negotiations with Dante's representatives were ongoing prior to his injury last weekend and nothing has changed. His attitude and spirit that he has shown recently are part of the reasons we selected him third overall. He understands the process ahead of him and is willing to do the work. He has a bright future ahead of him with the Jaguars and we look forward to him getting back on the field in 2016 and for many years to come."

Said Fowler: "I want to thank Shad Khan, David Caldwell and Gus Bradley for the opportunity they have given me. My focus right now is solely on getting better each and every day and attacking my rehab with the same mindset as a pass rusher."

It's a good look for the Jaguars, who could have taken contract discussions in a different, more contentious direction with Fowler on the shelf for a year. If his rehab goes to plan, Fowler -- who doesn't turn 21 until August -- should be ready for the start of training camp in 2016.

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